What the world would be like if Engineering didn't exist

April 2014 » Columns » FIRM THOUGHTS
With a new issue combining Civil + Structural Engineering, we need to again evaluate what we as individuals, firms, and an industry are doing to demand the attention to our works to keep the world turning.
David Evans

‚ÄčIf you have read my columns in CE News (or my book!), you would think these words would come from me. But, to my delight, they do not. Jenny Ann Beswick, an engineer and project manager, writes a blog from the United Kingdom that appeared in the February Manufacturing Net webcast series. (Excerpts are reprinted here with permission from Beswick and Advantage Media.)

The article includes this paragraph: “The discipline of engineering is one of the oldest in the world. The first engineers were those who developed the lever, the pulley, and the inclined plane. Egyptian engineers designed and built the Pyramids, and Roman engineers conceptualized the famous aqueducts. Today, engineering covers a broad range of disciplines all devoted to keeping the engine of our modern civilization running — world without engineering would see disaster more often than not.”

As I have stated, the world would have stopped revolving without us. But Beswick goes on:

“But that’s only scratching the surface. In fact, without civil engineering, there would be neither cities nor landscapes. Take away the tallest skyscrapers like the Shanghai Tower in China, The World Trade Center and Empire State building in New York, The Dream Dubai Marina, or the Petronas Tower 1 and 2 in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, and what are you left with? Not much in the skyline anywhere.”

Beswick then decries the decline in engineering graduates and says:
“So, it is time to engineer a campaign to revive engineering. Here’s how:”/p>

1. Define new frontiers
2. Pursue the impossible
3. Invest in engineering
4. Challenge
5. Inspire

Read Beswick’s blog at www.manufacturing.net/blogs/2014/02/what-the-world-would-be-like-ifengineering-didnt-exist to get the full explanation of her five steps.

Beswick closes with: “Having now seen what a world would be like without engineering, it is important to question if you would be able to cope without it. Do you appreciate it enough to help it live on? What are you doing to keep it around?”

The Highway Trust Fund is running out; the amount of investment needed by our entire crumbling infrastructure is staggering. Yet, our government entities are proposing or making little happen. I email my congressperson with my column, my thoughts, and all the stuff I see out there. He will get Jenny Beswick’s full blog next.

So, what are you doing to keep our world turning, our infrastructure building, and our civilization improving?

David Evans, P.E., PLS, F.ASCE, is the founder (1976) and a member of the board of David Evans Enterprises, Inc., the holding company for David Evans and Associates (www.deainc.com), and the auth of "Achieving Zero", a book on the life of the firm. He can be contacted at david.evans@zweigwhite.com.


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